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OXFAM AMERICA : Starting small to create large interventions

Veronica Wambui, a water vendor in Korogocho, Kenya, was faced with a stark reality when the pandemic hit. Members of her community—an informal settlement with little infrastructure—could no longer pay for water, which put her livelihood at risk. But Wambui soon learned that Oxfam partner Koch Hope was providing water to her settlement as part of its COVID-19 response, and that Koch Hope needed vendors. Wambui signed on as a contractor, which not only kept her business afloat, but also allowed her to provide an essential service to her community. Oxfam and Koch Hope began this work in April 2021 as part of a project called Tuko Pamoja (We Are in This Together). Tuko Pamoja is part of a larger effort supported by #StartSmall, a philanthropic initiative launched by Jack Dorsey, Block Head, Chairman, and cofounder of Block Inc. In the last year, funding from #StartSmall supported projects to address food security, health and hygiene, and livelihoods in Kenya and Burkina Faso. Veronica Wambui, a water vendor in Korogocho, Kenya, was faced with a stark reality when the pandemic hit. Members of her community—an informal settlement with little infrastructure—could no longer pay for water, which put her livelihood at risk. But Wambui soon learned that Oxfam partner Koch Hope was providing water to her settlement as part of its COVID-19 response, and that Koch Hope needed vendors. Wambui signed on as a contractor, which not only kept her business afloat, but also allowed her to provide an essential service to her community. Oxfam and Koch Hope began this work in April 2021 as part of a project called Tuko Pamoja (We Are in This Together). Tuko Pamoja is part of a larger effort supported by #StartSmall, a philanthropic initiative launched by Jack Dorsey, Block Head, Chairman, and cofounder of Block Inc. In the last year, funding from #StartSmall supported projects to address food security, health and hygiene, and livelihoods in Kenya and Burkina Faso. Through a voucher system, people in Wambui’s community secured a larger volume of clean water than before—up to four jerrycans per day for three months. Wambui’s cash flow improved so much that she was able to open a bigger shop. “l was able to pay school fees … for my child and put food on the table without much struggle,” she said. In addition to meeting humanitarian needs, Tuko Pamoja also addressed threats to the lives and livelihoods of survivors and people at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Cases soared during the pandemic: data from Healthcare Assistance Kenya shows a 300 percent increase in reported cases between March and April 2020 alone. Now, more than 200 survivors in Korogocho and another settlement, Mukuru, have received counseling services and cash assistance that can be used for any purpose, such as paying medical bills. Program participants reported a greater feeling of dignity after receiving counseling.

Featured Client:

Oxfam America

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